Celebrate the World!

 

Celebrate the World

The other day we took a ride around the neighborhood to look at the beautiful Christmas lights.  As we drove around there were, of course, the houses with amazing lights and decorations.  There were also many houses that had none. M said, “They need to put their lights up.” I told him that not everyone decorates and that’s ok. I said maybe they don’t celebrate Christmas.  I wanted to explain how there are so many religions out there that have their own customs and celebrations, but the moment passed as they began to cheer excitedly at the next brightly lit house.  We have brushed on the subject a couple of times before, but we have never really had a good discussion about it since they are so young. This made me think of how I can teach them better about the world.  I want them to learn and appreciate all of the beautiful celebrations the world has to offer even if they are too far away for us to experience personally.

My house...just kidding. Beautiful, though.

My house…just kidding. Beautiful, though.

Starting this blog has opened up the world for me.  I have readers from all around the world and that is amazing! (Thank you, dear readers) I hope to learn about their (your) celebrations through here as well. With this opportunity I have also met some very creative and intelligent bloggers from amazing lands if only through social media. I follow and have joined a number of communities dealing with bilingualism, biculturalism, the Latin world and multiculturalism. I was even lucky enough to be asked to join Multicultural Kids Blog (MKB).    Through them I am educating myself about the great traditions of the world so then maybe I can share what I learn with my kids.

One of the things the MKB does is a festive card swap.  I am so excited about this one. I wrote a previous post about it here. It’s such a great idea. I had a pen pal when I was younger and loved writing to and receiving letters from her. We have received two of our three cards so far and they are so beautiful.  I love the stories they share and feeling like my kids and I have made new friends. (Sorry we didn’t include a letter, too. I wasn’t sure if we should. We owe you, sweet families).

Through this great community, I also have the opportunity to receive music and books for review.  This is my favorite part.  I received Little Mandarin‘s music on ITUNES  to share the beautiful music with my little ones and I received DARIA Celebrate the Season CD with great holiday music. We love the new music we have to dance to and cuddle to. I mention these to show that without joining the blogging community I would never have found such great things to show my kids. Thank you, again!

Here is my new plan.

  • Keep practicing our Spanish at home, of course
  • Keep reading books in Spanish, of course
  • Introduce something new from another culture as often as possible
  • Keep researching and learning from my fabulous and worldly fellow bloggers
  • Find cultural activities suitable for little ones nearby or online

I highly recommend this series on MKB to help learn about celebrations around the world. I would read it for days, if I had the time.  It is full of information and very thoughtfully put together: http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/christmas-different-lands-2014/. It’s a fun way to learn traditions, recipes and crafts that you may not have heard about before.  I know I hadn’t.

Here is an activity kit you can buy with activities from around the world.  I just bought this and I love it! It has taught me so much already and can’t wait to show my kids. http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/product/celebrate-christmas-around-the-world/

Xmas-cover

Let’s keep this community growing so we can all become World Citizens! (I love that saying)

What holidays do you celebrate?

What are the most fun celebrations you would love to share with others?

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

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“Ojo De Dios” Craft

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I was looking for a fun craft to do with my kids that would also teach them some Mexican culture.  I have seen the “Ojo de Dios” or “Eye of God” all of my life so I decided that was the perfect craft to do with my kids. The origin for this artwork is from the Huichol Indians of Mexico. It was made by the father when a child was born. Each year a bit of yarn was added until the child turned five and then it was complete. A child surviving to five was a big accomplishment for parent and child and something to be celebrated.  Celebrating children is something I love to do, so this craft seemed great for the holidays.

I love to crochet which means finding yarn is not a problem in my house.  We also have kept quite a few chop sticks in the kitchen because we love to eat. The only other things needed were glue and a marker.  I have kids, so I have glue and markers everywhere. No home with kids would be complete without them. 🙂

Here is what you need:

  • Pairs of sticks the same size (popsicle sticks are the most popular, but chop sticks work, too)
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • Yarn
  • Scissors

Steps:

  • Before you even start, glue your sticks together to make a cross. Let them set and dry for at least a day. Having the cross already set makes it easier for little hands to put the yarn around.

glued

  • Number your sticks so they look like this

Cross Pattern

  • Now wrap your yarn in an X pattern around the center to cover the middle of the cross then begin to wrap your yarn one time around 1, one time around 2, one time around 3 and one time around 4. Make sure you go over the sticks each time so they front is always flat and the back has the curves like so.

wrap 1

If you do not follow the same pattern, they will look like this (not very pretty):wrong

  • Continue to wrap in order until you feel your first color is wide enough to be the eye. Cut the yarn, leaving about an inch hanging in the back side of the cross.
  • Start same process with the second color, third and fourth.
  • wrap 2 wrap 3
  • Once you are done, you can tie the loose ends in the back together with the closest end to it, just to keep them tight and trim off the rest.
  • tie back

And Ta-dah! You have yourself a beautiful “Ojo de Dios”

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Had to also make one with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, green and white) which happen to work great for holidays as well.

Had to also make one with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, green and white) which happen to work great for holidays as well.

Full disclosure:

My kids are 2 and 4.  Anyone that has little ones knows that crafts can get messy or not come out at all like you expect.  I tried to get my kids to help. They were enthusiastic at first, but as soon as they realized how fun yarn is to throw, the craft was out the window (along with the yarn). It made a great wig, though.

wig

My oldest did help more and actually sat with me for a while trying to figure it out.  M helping

This activity is better suited for older kids. Although, I feel having younger kids watch you make things and get crafty as well is a great way to teach them details, as well as your love of your cultures and traditions.

First attempt:

I also thought it would be fun to have a hunt for the sticks we used.  The hunt was great fun, but the final product came out a little lopsided as the sticks were not straight. 

wood

It was still fun going on a hunt, though. My point is to try to have fun with whatever you have and make your own adventure!

Have fun crafting and Happy Holidays wherever you are!